Many people, including President Obama have embraced fracking as clean energy and a bridge to a renewable energy future because when it is burned it emits half of the carbon dioxide of coal, however that is only part of the story. Methane, the primary component of natural gas is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and the methane that leaks during the fracking process from pipelines, compressors, wells and processing units eviscerates this advantage.
There is uncertainty over the rate at which methane leaks into the atmosphere, but there is no uncertainty of the damage it is doing. Recent measurements by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at gas and oil fields in California, Colorado and Utah found leakage rates of 2.3 percent to 17 percent of annual production. Fracking is a Gangplank for a Warming Planet.